Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Review: Daughter of the Pirate King - Tricia Levenseller

Daughter of the Pirate King 
Tricia Levenseller
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenges: #DebutAuthorChallenge2017, #NGEW2017, #PopSugarChallenge2017

I don't read a lot of fantasy. I have no idea why I don't, because every time I read a fantasy book, I always have such an enthusiastic response. Daughter of the Pirate King was yet another fantasy book which won a huge response from me.

The daughter of the pirate king, Alosa, is sent by her father to retrieve a map. This requires Alosa to be captured and imprisoned by the enemy pirates. While aboard the Night Farer, she is challenged by the Night Farer's crew, but most of the crew is really no match for Alosa, that is except for Riden.
"Lass, you've the face of an angel but the tongue of a snake."
Alosa had me on her team from page one. She was the total package. A fierce woman, who was smart and snarky, and not afraid to slit a few throats if necessary. She was also loyal to her crew, and would go above and beyond to protect them. But don't let that fool you, she still liked to be clean, groomed, and well-dressed even if she was not a "lady". Her wit and candor kept me amused, and I just thought she was a stellar example of what a great heroine is: strong, but a little soft too. Still, so much girl power. The twist with her lineage really pulled me in. I thought it was an imaginative addition to an already great character. Aside from Alosa, she had an almost all female crew filled with fiery, intense, and bold women.
"Submissiveness. I try not to cringe as the word enters my mind. Horrid word, that one."

"Because pirates aren't supposed to look like you look and talk like you talk and do what you do. You're confusing, and it's messing with my head."
There were many supporting characters who added to the fun, but I would be remiss if I did not talk about Riden. All I am going to say is, every time Riden was on the page, I had heart eyes. Levenseller gave us a great heroine AND a great hero. It was interesting of her to create this anti-pirate. Yes, he could fight, but he had a lot of compassion and cared a lot for his brother, his crew, and after a short time, Alosa. The verbal and physical sparring between these two was fantastic. The chemistry was perfect. And the tender moments were full on swoony. I just adored every minute of them together.
"His brown eyes are alight with merriment. I think he enjoys our little spats."

Me every time Riden is mentioned

Overall: A fun and fantastic pirating adventure filled with action, romance, and witty banter. I am eagerly awaiting book 2!


Because I was so blessed and received both a DRC and a finished copy of this book, I am giving away the finished copy.

All you have to do to enter is fill out the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway is open US only, unless you are willing to pay the shipping, and is open through March 21st. You must be 13 or older to enter or have a parent enter for you. The winner will be selected shortly after and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
**I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the advanced copy of this book. I would also liked to thank GoodReads and Fierce Reads for the finished copy I won through a GoodReads giveaway.

Do you have a favorite pirate book, TV show, or movie?
Let us know in the comments!

Waiting on Wednesday: Dark Breaks the Dawn

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I'm waiting on Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson.

Dark Breaks the Dawn
Sara B. Larson
Release Date: May 30,  2017
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Waited on by: Sam

On her eighteenth birthday, Princess Evelayn of Eadrolan, the Light Kingdom, can finally access the full range of her magical powers. The light looks brighter, the air is sharper, and the energy she can draw when fighting feels almost limitless.

But while her mother, the queen, remains busy at the war front, in the Dark Kingdom of Dorjhalon, the corrupt king is plotting. King Bain wants control of both kingdoms, and his plan will fling Evelayn onto the throne much sooner than she expected.

In order to defeat Bain and his sons, Evelayn will quickly have to come into her ability to shapeshift, and rely on the alluring Lord Tanvir. But not everyone is what they seem, and the balance between the Light and Dark comes at a steep price.

I cannot lie. When I heard that Sara B. Larson had a new book coming out, I was pretty excited. 

Why was I excited? 

Reason #1: Three years ago, I became aware of the greatness that is SBL when I read the Defy books. My daughter was after me to read Defy for quite a while, and after I did, and I loved it, she had this to say: 

Yeah, she was right. 

Reason #2: Shapeshifting, magic, dark, and light. Count. Me. In. This sounds like it will be an epic adventure, and I am totally in the mood for one. 

Reason #3: The cover (you knew I was going to say that, didn't you?). Seriously, it is a thing of beauty, and the mood and feeling it conveys is one that intrigues me. 

What are you waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Review: Off the Ice - Julie Cross

Off the Ice 
Julie Cross
Series: Juniper Falls, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenges: #ContRom2017

Claire decided to take a semester off from college and return home to help with the family business during her father's illness. Her world was put in a state of flux, as she struggled with the bills, her father's health issues, and her prolonged absence from university. Right when she thought she was hitting rock bottom, her best friend's little brother, Tate, came back into her life, and unexpectedly gave her a lifeline and more.
"When and how did you become..." I wave a hand dramatically in front of him. "This?"
"What?" He glances down and tugs not he front of his hunter-green thermal beneath his unzipped jacket. "Someone who wears earth tones?"
"No! Th-that," I sputter, blowing hair off my face, "tall and ...not skinny..And the voice.."

I am always up for a good sports romance, and I liked this small town setting, as small towns bring a certain element to the story on their own. As expected, Juniper Falls gave me what I expected from the setting: the gossip, the backlash, the familiarity, the neighborliness, the history, and family ties to the town. I especially liked the hockey family dynasty aspects and how far back the characters went with each other.
These guys don't have the right to suddenly take notice of Claire when I've seen her, admired her for years.
Both Claire and Tate were dealing with a lot of personal issues. Claire had the responsibility of her family's entire existence and her uncertain future weighing her down, while Tate was grappling with his new position as starting goalie and the damaging secrets he was trying to keep hidden. These two sort of broken people were able to lift each other up. They supported each other, they gave of themselves to each other, and I was pretty sold on this romance. This was a healthy romance. These two were honest with each other, they had open conversations, they knew when to push and when to back off, and they never asked the other one to sacrifice something they loved for the sake of the other. And the history! I love when there is history between characters, and these went a loooooong ways back.
What is this thing that Claire and I are doing? It's painful and messy but also exhilarating, like seeing colors for the first time.
But do you know what I loved even more than Tate and Clair together? Tate, Jamie, and Leo together. The relationship between them was pretty brotastic, and I really enjoyed seeing male characters sharing their feelings. There are definitely more stories to tell in this town, and I care enough about these auxiliary characters to want them.
This bridge between Tate and me somehow emerged in the midst of everything falling apart.
Overall: a heartwarming sports romance, which has left me wanting more Juniper Falls stories.

**I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book

Do you like hockey or have a favorite sport?
Let us know in the comments!

Monday, February 27, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. This post is for sharing what I read last week, what I am currently reading, and what I plan to read.

What I Read Last Week

I only read one of the books I planned to read. This is why I plan loosely. I did finish six books last week though, with Letters to the Lost being my favorite.

What I Am Currently Reading

I am reading Daughter of the Pirate King and listening to Dear Mr. Knightley. I am loving Pirate King, which I won through a GoodReads giveaway and actually received the book. So, I was pretty happy about that.

What I Plan to Read

Let's try this again. I am really going to try to read the following books, pending any ARC approvals.

What are you reading?
Let us know in the comments!

Series Review: The Grisha Trilogy - Leigh Bardugo

The Grisha Trilogy
Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

This review covers the entire Grisha Trilogy. It contains a minor spoiler for Shadow and Bone (in the characters section), but is spoiler free for the rest of the series.

I got all three of The Grisha Trilogy books as Kindle Daily Deals at some point or another (not all together but randomly on different days), but I never got around to reading them. This year, I decided to finally read them. After having finally read Shadow and Bone, I am upset with myself for waiting so long to read it - I absolutely loved it!

Shadow and Bone takes place in a world were some people are Grisha: people born with the ability to manipulate the elements, the human body, or other materials. The Grisha are led by a fierce leader, the Darkling, who is immensely powerful and can control darkness. Alina is just an average girl until she finds out that she is, in fact, Grisha - she can control light.

I absolutely loved the world that Leigh Bardugo built in Shadow and Bone. She carefully crafted a world with an interesting power dynamic between Grisha and ungifted people. While the king controls the first army, the Darkling controls the more powerful second army of Grisha. On some level, Grisha are resented for their powers - not as much in Ravka, the setting of this book, as in other places, but there is still resentment.

Once I started Shadow and Bone, I couldn't stop. I wanted to know more and more about the world and the characters, especially as the bigger plot of the series started to unfold. I was shocked by some of the revelations near the end, and anxious to get to Siege and Storm.

Unfortunately for me, Siege and Storm was a bit of a let down as the second book in the series. I felt like it moved a little slowly, partially because a lot of the time was spent on a plot line that I just wasn't that interested in (more on this and the characters later). The beginning and end of the book were strong, but the middle lagged. Luckily, Ruin and Rising was such a phenomenal conclusion that it made up for the sophomore slump.

Ruin and Rising was such a satisfying conclusion! Filled with action, twists, and more, I sped through this finale. AND THE EPILOGUE! That epilogue was so perfect and fitting as a conclusion to the series.

Now that I've gone through my overall opinions of the books, I'll dig into some of the nitty gritty: the characters.

Alina was a great, strong protagonist for this series. She was somewhat self sacrificing to a fault - she understood what she wanted to accomplish, and she was willing to do anything to get the job done (including causing her own near death). Her persistence was incredible.

Mal is Alina's main love interest throughout the series, and while some people really love him, I'm sadly not one of them. Mal annoyed me to no end in Siege and Storm. He was like Four in Allegiant - whiny and irritating - but he did get past it in Ruin and Rising, and I ultimately really enjoyed where his story arc went and how it impacted the greater plot.

The Darkling was really a great villain. I'm not one of those people who fell in love with the Darkling and shipped him with Alina, but I enjoyed how truly despicable he was. It was kind of amazing to see how far he would go for anything. In a lot of ways, he was very similar to Alina - the dark side of her light, but still filled with endless determination.

The supporting characters were equally great. I LOVED Nikolai!!!!! Favorite character in this series hands down. I really wish there had been more of him in this series, but I'm holding out hope that he'll make an appearance in the Six of Crows series. Genya was an interesting character because she was so driven by revenge and it shaped her decisions so much. I wasn't sure how I felt about her for a while, but I ended up liking her and her dynamic with David. Also just wanted to give a shoutout to Zoya, who is the absolute sassiest and has one of my favorite lines in the entire series about missing pretty things.

All in all, I can't believe I waited so long to read the Grisha Trilogy, but I'm glad I finally did because now I can join in on the Grishaverse love, especially with the Six of Crows series. This series is packed with action in such a wonderfully built world. I can't wait to read more in this world!

On a side note, I think an anime series about the adventures of Harshaw and Oncat during Ruin and Rising would be hilarious and the best thing ever. I'd settle for fan-made comics. Someone please make this happen please.

What series did you wait a long time to read?
Let us know in the comments!